After Kendrick Perkins alleged a racial bias among NBA MVP voters, Charles Barkley accused the ESPN analyst of speaking for clicks.
Last week on First Take, as Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić appeared increasingly destined to win his third straight MVP award, Perkins accused voters of holding a racial bias against the league’s Black players. Tuesday morning, Perkins and JJ Redick got into a heated debate over the topic, with Redick blasting the show for allowing false narratives to be pushed.
JJ Redick condemns First Take and pushes back on Kendrick Perkins alleging NBA MVP voters have a racial bias against Black players: pic.twitter.com/7pOMmGW4AH
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 7, 2023
Following the blow up on First Take, Denver sports radio hosts Vic Lombardi, Marc Moser and Brett Kane welcomed Charles Barkley onto their show to discuss the discourse between Perkins and Redick.
“That’s asinine and silly,” Barkley said of Perkins’ take. “Asinine, silly and stupid. Pick one of the words, whatever one you want.”
“One of the things that’s silly about ESPN at times, they do this silly debate every year about the MVP, going back to even when I played,” Barkley continued. “They did it a lot with LeBron, which makes me laugh, too. Derrick Rose won it. He deserved it. Kevin Durant won it. He deserved it. It’s a regular season award. It ain’t who the best player is. It’s who had the best regular season, but every year ESPN gets these fools on radio and TV to talk about who’s the best player…They have these silly things every year and it’s really just, that’s the silliness of these morning talk shows.”
Barkley proceeded to state if there are more white voters than Black voters, and only five white players won the NBA MVP award in the last 30 years, then Perkins’ argument makes “zero sense.” According to Barkley, Perkins “crossed the line” with his hot take about NBA MVP voters holding a racial bias against Black players and he praised Redick for his willingness to push back.
“I always talk about ESPN disease,” Barkley continued on Altitude Sports Radio. “A lot of these guys, when they get on TV and stuff, they’re like, ‘well I’m on ESPN, I got to say something provocative.’ And you know the thing about it, you’re always gonna get some fools out there, you guys probably get some fools calling in agreeing with him! I can promise you this, I’ve never said anything on television just to get clicks, that don’t mean I’ve been right or wrong, whatever.
“But I’ve never said something like, ‘well I know people are going to react and go crazy, let me say this.’ And this is what bothers me also, man race is such a touchy subject because very few people have a pure heart. We can talk about race as much as you want to as long as you’re going to be fair and honest. But to slander this man (Jokić) in this situation is just total BS.”
Barkley might not set out to say anything provocative, but he doesn’t have to, because his inherent tendency to speak brashly and with honesty is what makes him one of the most popular analysts in sports. What separates Barkley from the rest, however, is that his takes are usually considered authentic by the audience, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with him. Despite Perkins insisting that his NBA MVP award opinion is genuine and one shared by many former Black players, Barkley appears to think he was just seeking attention.